I am getting increasingly frustrated with American users of Tumblr and other international social network platforms (including forums) assuming that the US is the default experience for everybody and forgetting that other users, their audience, are international.
Users from every other country invariably start posts with phrases like “In the [country they are in]” or “here”, or dropping the name of their home country in somewhere letting us know that the specific place is important and acknowledging that their experience is not universal. USA users however seem to just dive right in to their topic and we have to hope that there is sufficient reference to US things in there that we can put their post in context.
But just relying on things like references to health insurance isn’t enough. Other countries can have similar systems or use the same terms. Expecting people to understand your own terminology is more of this US-centric behaviour. Why should we know all these details? Yes a lot of international media is American, but not all of the media we consume is or is even accurate.
To top it off, when a non-US person replies to a US post with information that may be country specific (i.e. a Brit replying to a post about tuition fees without knowing the poster is from the US) they will often get derided and called stupid for their answer being unhelpful. In the reverse scenario, the Brit (or other country OP) will be lambasted for not being clear or for “forgetting that a lot of American people use this site.”.
- Remember that America is not the only country and Americans aren’t the only users.
- Don’t expect people to automatically know where you are from.
- Don’t assume an experience is universal.
- Alternatively don’t think that something is so uniquely American that it couldn’t possibly be anywhere anywhere else (e.g. health care, republicans, democrats, a bag full of bags).
- Give some concrete indicator of what country you are referring to or that location is important.
- Don’t be a dick to people who aren’t American or whose experiences differ.